Four Ways to Meditate
Learn the stress reducing benefits of being in the moment
Finding inner peace can sometimes result in a frustrating battle between your desire to just chill out and the realities and stresses of the world. Between appointments, work, family, friends and other distractions it can be difficult to be in the moment and simply relax. There is no one specific formula about how to properly meditate, each person is different in how they approach their own state of calm. My favorite ways to get into a meditative state of mind are as follows:
Counting your breath: With closed eyes, inhale silently counting up to 5, exhale silently counting down from 5, and hold with no air in your lungs for another 5 counts. Repeat 5x.
Alternate nostril breathing: Using the thumb and ring finger on right hand, with eyes closed, close off the right nostril with the thumb and inhale through the left nostril. At the top of the inhale, close off both nostrils (using the ring finger for the left one) and then release thumb from right nostril to let the air drain out. Inhale right, with the left still closed off and then at the top of the inhale close off both again. Release left, letting the air drain out and repeat sequence, cycling the air through the body.
Repeating a Phrase: Whether it’s chanting “Om” or repeating the same positive phrase over and over in your head, it helps to have the mind have one focal point. Try by repeating “I am” on the inhale, and “here” on the exhale.
- Visualization Meditation: Sometimes the best way to do it is through visualization and transporting your mind someplace else. You’re put in a more tranquil state of mind, naturally keeping you more relaxed and positive in everyday life. I suggest beginners start right before bed, utilize aromatherapy and calming music and do visualization techniques to help guide them into a meditation.
Try this visualization meditation to help ease you slowly into a meditative state:
Laying on a flat and supportive surface with spine in alignment, slowly begin to sink deeply into the ground.
First feet, then legs, core, arms shoulders, and head…fully releasing any tension left in body and mind, melting deeper as if sinking into a floating cloud. Our body feels very heavy as every muscle relaxes, floating high in the clear blue sky. As the cloud floats on, the sun shines bright and warm, feeling comforting and safe. The cool breeze gently blows upon our skin, feeling relaxed. Any worries or troubles are washed away like a passing spring shower, cool and refreshing. We feel cleansed. As we lay here floating on, we are feeling comforted and happy—traveling to a place special in our hearts.
What does this place look like? Imagine the cloud is now arriving to this place. Record every detail of this place in your mind so you can return to it anytime…
The overall goal of meditating is to maintain a positive state of mind, reduce stress and pain in the body and mind, and become more conscious individuals. Meditation can help boost your immune system, improve eating habits, and motivate you to workout (when you’re happy, you want to be more active!). When you have a positive outlook on life, all other aspects of your life begin to improve: you’ll feel energized and more likely to be fit and healthy, you’ll appreciate the Earth and what it does for us, and you’ll appreciate others and their contribution to the world.
Start with finding a meditation practice that works for you and begin meditating for 3 minutes, then slowly progress to 5, 10, 15 and then 20 minutes a day. Do it before work or school, during lunch time, or right before bed. After a few meditation sessions you will begin to feel more relaxed, calm, positive and begin to be pain free.